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Zoroastrianism – Iran – West Asian religion

By |2018-06-11T18:34:59+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

An Iranian fire sacrifice Zoroaster/Zarathustra himself Around 1000 BC (probably), about the same time that people in India were writing the Rig Veda, a man named Zoroaster (also called Zarathustra) was a priest in a small temple in the eastern part of West Asia, in an area with a lot of small kingdoms and no major power. Zoroaster believed that [...]

Coca leaves – South American medicine

By |2018-05-30T00:00:28+00:00September 10th, 2017|Science, South America|

History of coca leaves: Coca farming in the Andes Mountains When did coca plants evolve? Like potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco, coca plants grow wild in the Andes Mountains of South America. They probably evolved around the same time as the other flowering plants, around 120 million years ago, in the Cretaceous Period. (More about the Cretaceous period) Coca plants [...]

Central and South American religion

By |2017-09-10T10:53:07+00:00September 10th, 2017|Central America, Religion, South America|

Maya Corn King on a plate The people who lived in South and Central America before 1500 were polytheistic - they believed in many different gods. Because they lived pretty near one another, and ate many of the same foods, some of their gods were pretty much the same. The Mayan Corn God, for example, [...]

Aztec gods and rituals – Central American religion

By |2017-09-09T23:48:53+00:00September 9th, 2017|Central America, Religion|

The Aztec god of seeds, Xipe Totec (ca 1500 AD) Aztec people, like the people of China, India, or Africa at this time, were polytheistic - they had many gods. Many of these gods were parts of nature. Coatlicue was the god of creation. Xipe Totec was the seeds to be planted, that would grow into food (like Persephone for the Greeks). Tlaloc [...]

Who were the Aztec? Central American history

By |2018-04-27T17:46:57+00:00September 8th, 2017|Central America, Where|

Aztec brazier (about 1300 AD) Mexica people move to Mexico Beginning in the 1100s AD, the Medieval Warming Period seems to have made it too hard to live where the Mexica were in North America. So the Mexica people moved south to what is now Mexico. The Mexica were relatives of the Shoshone and Ute people who lived in the Rocky [...]

Roman sacrifice – animals and incense – Roman religion

By |2018-04-09T10:31:19+00:00September 4th, 2017|Religion, Romans|

Sacrificing a cow, a sheep, and a pig in the Late Republic Probably around the time people began farming their food and raising tame animals for their meat, which in Italy was about 5000 BC, people also began to sacrifice animals to their gods. This was the same thing people did in West Asia - including the Zoroastrians and the Jews - and in Greece at the [...]

Roman religion – Ancient Roman gods

By |2017-09-04T14:12:37+00:00September 4th, 2017|Religion, Romans|

Hadrian's Pantheon from the outside. Built in the early 100s AD In some ways Roman religion is a lot like Greek religion, but in other ways it is very different. Like the Greeks, the Romans thought that there were many gods, and that these gods each controlled different parts of the world: storms, the ocean, marriage, blacksmithing, and [...]

Eid al-Adha – Islamic holidays

By |2018-05-15T13:29:40+00:00September 1st, 2017|Islam, Religion, West Asia|

Eid al-Adha: an Islamic image of Abraham and Ishmael What is Eid al-Adha? Eid al-Adha is an Islamic holiday. It falls a few months after the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr. These two celebrations are the two most important holidays of the year for Islam, and of the two, Eid al-Adha is the [...]

Ara Pacis – Altar of Peace – Roman art

By |2018-04-24T23:47:31+00:00August 31st, 2017|Art, Romans|

The Ara Pacis - the Altar of Peace. Originally it was outside, but today a roof protects it. When the Roman emperor Augustus took over Rome after the civil wars at the end of the Roman Republic, about 30 BC, he built a Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis in Latin), to show that the fighting was over. Augustus [...]

Maccabees – Jewish history

By |2017-10-09T17:20:27+00:00August 24th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Alexander the Great Under the Persians the Jews did very well. They were able to worship their own God, and even to travel around the Persian Empire converting people to Judaism. But in 331 BC Alexander the Great, who was from Macedon, conquered the Persian Empire and "liberated" (as he called it) the Jews from Persian rule. [...]